Two Black and Bluegrass Licks To Get You Out Of A Session

Hey Everyone!

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This lesson is a continuation of the same technical concept behind the sweep picking Pentatonic Minor/Blues scale lesson I posted earlier.  If you like this approach, you may like that lesson as well (links at the bottom of the page).

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Today I have not one but TWO licks that go together like peanut butter and an ashtray.  Both of these are transitional licks leading back into key of G (The bluegrassiest of all keys) and while they probably won’t get you beat up (hence the black and bluegrass) or kicked out of a session – they might turn a head or two!

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Here’s the first lick (in the video it’s played at 120 bpm – first as triplets then sextuplets):

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(Note: fingerstyle players can play the 3-note groups as p-i-m)

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[vimeo https://vimeo.com/44120906]

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And here it is in notation and tab:

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Lick #1

Now, let me explain a little about what going on here.  This is a transitional lick that resolves to G that uses different G-based chords starting from G, Bb and Db (aka G diminished).

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The first chord is a G7 (add 13).  Originally, I was going to use a straight descending 1 note-per string scale version of G Mixolydian (i.e. G, F, E, D, C, B, A) but – while the first three notes sounded great:

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The spread wasn’t an easy one to get in to or out of cleanly.  So I cheated it and used the D instead, grabbing the E on the B string keeping the D and adding a B on the D-string.

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If you remove the E, you have a nice voicing for a G7 chord starting from the 3rd, but for melodic playing it’s easier to arpeggiate the chord as 3 note groups.

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The next chord is a G min 7 starting from the b3rd.  It uses the same picking pattern as the first arpeggio:

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Then the lick jumps from the D to Db to start the G min7b5 (add11) arpeggio.  That might sound exotic – but it’s just 4 notes from the G Blues scale (G, Bb, C, Db and F).

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Finally, it ends up with a G major triad with an added b3rd (a useful bluegrass cliché.  For even more of a bluegrass sound, add the E on the 12th fret E string between the D and the G).

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Technical Considerations 

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1.  As with the sweep picking blues pentatonic lesson, keeping the notes staccato (i.e. taking the finger pressure off the string after each note is played) will help with articulation. 

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2.  The biggest challenge with this lick will probably be taming the open D string when you switch from the 3-string D-G-B pattern back to the top three strings.  Use pick hand muting to mute the D string once you play the first note on the high E string – and try practicing the lick as 9-note groupings to work that transition.

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or

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Lick #2

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Lick #2 is just silly – but it’s a fun idea and it’s a great way to work on the 3-string picking pattern.  

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[vimeo https://vimeo.com/44120906]

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The lick is based on this idea:

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This lick is just the first notes of lick #1 with a chromatically descending pattern based on the last three notes.  All I’ve done in lick #2 is chromatically ascend and then descend again like so:

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Just use the same techniques that you used in getting the first lick down and pay attention to the 3 T’s (timing, (hand) tension and (quality of) tone and you’ll be fine.  (and remember – slow and steady wins the race here with regards to practice gains!)

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This one-note per string scale idea is taken from the last section of my Melodic Patterns book so if this area interest you, you may want to check that book out.  You can find out more about it here.

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As always, I hope this helps and thanks for reading!

-SC

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If you like this approach, I have 2 books you may be interested in:

 

 

My Pentatonic Visualization Book

 

Minor Pent Front

 

is 100 + pages of licks and instruction and includes demonstrations and breakdowns of two-string fingerings, diagonal pentatonics, sweep picking pentatonics, pentatonic harmony and much more!  It’s available here.

 

My Melodic Patterns Book:

 

melodic-patterns

 

(available on Lulu or on Amazon) has a complete break down of all note-per-string scale variations which include the 2 above.  In the meantime, give this approach a try with other scales as well.  In the next sweep picking acoustic lesson – I’ll adapt this to a bluegrass lick that you might find cool.

 

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